Element AI, wants to let all businesses tap into the world’s best AI minds.
Its system addresses a shortcoming of many AI applications. Individual firms are awash with data but may not have enough to train AI models. Element AI’s network will be able to share algorithmic learning from all the data they crunch, enabling better performance than they would achieve using only one client’s data. For example, an oil major might want to use image-recognition to identify corrosion on its pipes. Element AI could develop a system to spot it and predict the likelihood of a leak, to rank which pipes get fixed first. If the client lacks images to train the algorithm, Element AI’s work in an adjacent area—say, corrosion on railway tracks—could be used.
Jean-François Gagné, Element AI’s boss, says that the company aims to “democratise” AI by making state-of-the-art technology available to companies well beyond the main technology giants. “We are a neutral player you can trust,” he argues. But it is notoriously hard to move techniques from the research lab into real-life applications.